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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Corroboree, or Dance of the Natives of New South Wales

1820
Walter Preston (engraver)

engraving, hand coloured on paper (frame: 67.3 cm x 81.0 cm, sight: 37.8 cm x 57.0 cm)

Walter Preston was convicted of highway robbery in 1811 and transported to New South Wales for life the following year. In Sydney, assigned to brewer and printer Absalom West, he engraved the plates for Views of New South Wales, published by West in 1813 and 1814. Having re-offended, Preston was sent to the penal outpost at Mulubinba (Newcastle). The commandant there, James Wallis, later commissioned him to produce a series of twelve engravings of which this work – which includes a depiction of the Awabakal senior man Burigon (second from left) – is one. Preston's engravings were said to have been based on Wallis' drawings and engraved on plates made from 'copper employed in coppering the bottoms of ships'. Art historians, however, have speculated that images such as this one were based on originals by another convict artist, Joseph Lycett, who produced many images of Newcastle at Wallis' instigation. It is thought too that Lycett was able to create his remarkable depictions of Awabakal people and Country because Burigon accompanied him on his sketching trips. This work and the others in Preston's series were later published in Wallis' An Historical Account of the Colony of New South Wales.

Purchased 2013

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Walter Preston

Burigon

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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